As a sales candidate seeking employment, the first thing you need to sell is yourself. In a sales interview, hiring managers are looking to see the same skills that you will use on the phones with prospects. These five tips will help you leverage yourself with the hiring manager and stand out from the rest:
1. Do your research
Before your interview, do your research on the company. Find out the answers to these questions:
- What is their industry and the marketplace they serve?
- What is the problem they solve or service they provide?
- Who are their top competitors?
- What are their business differentiators?
You’ll be able to answer questions more knowledgeably and ask more company-specific questions of your own.
2. Present yourself well
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Be on time and dress well.
Plan ahead and make sure you arrive for your sales interview 10 – 15 minutes early, even if that means driving the route the day before to see how long it takes. Sometimes you may be required to fill out additional information at the interview. Allow for enough time should that be a requirement here.
Always dress at least one level above what you think the interviewers may expect. No matter what you will be selling for this company, it’s important that you show up well-dressed and well-groomed. You will be a representation of their company.
3. Conduct yourself like a sales meeting
In this sales interview, your interviewers are your prospects. The following points are best practices you should use for all interviews:
- Be prepared – Know your talking points ahead of time
- Bring writing materials (you would be shocked how many times I’ve interviewed unprepared reps)
- Speak calmly and at an appropriate cadence
- Maintain good eye contact
- Take notes for follow-up questions
4. Have your facts ready
Employers will want to know your experience, successes and failures as a sales professional. So, come armed with your numbers. Quantify your accomplishments as much as possible. What were your quota numbers compared to your company average? What were your performance metrics, your conversion/win rate, and your contributions to revenues? Then, tie those into the data you uncovered about the company in your research phase.
These figures will illustrate your competence, your preparedness and how you can contribute to their company’s success.
5. Be prepared to ask questions during the sales interview
Show that you have an inquisitive mind. This directly relates to how you interact with prospects.
Ask questions. These shouldn’t be limited only to details about the salary but should include training, career trajectory, target market, competitive insights, etc. Ask about the success rate of the sales team. You can indicate what you’ve found during your research and ask if that is accurate.
It’s time to close the deal
As a good salesperson, you must be able to sell yourself. In this instance, the product you’re selling is you, and the service is your skills at selling this new company’s products/services.
Now that you know how to sell yourself during the sales interview, you should know the 5 Questions Sales Candidates Should Ask Every Hiring Manager